Linda passed away March 4, 2019 surrounded by loving family and friends who cherished her. Her courage, determination, generosity of spirit, and faith helped everyone she knew be braver, stronger, and better equipped for the challenges of life.
Linda was born September 4, 1947 in Omaha, Nebraska to Dr. William Reece Elton Newman and Margie Ruth Pollard. The oldest of four children, Linda nurtured and encouraged her siblings, and consequently everyone who was lucky enough to enter her orbit. She is survived by her devoted husband Kenneth R. Simpson, her sons Scott Richard Simpson and David Kenneth Simpson, and four grandchildren: Shannon, Andrew, Danny, and Bobby. Linda loved being a wife, mother and grandma; she showered her family with love and attention and took delight in their company. She is also survived by her sisters Anita Newman, MD, Amy Newman, Ph.D., and her brother Reece Newman, MBA (Tanya Noffsinger), and her brother-and-sister-in law Wayne and Beverlee Simpson, three nieces, six nephews and their children, many cousins, and a host of friends and students whose lives were made better by her influence.
Her earliest memories were of playing school with her dolls and siblings. She made a grade book and graded all the neighborhood children - she truly was a natural born teacher. As a member of the first graduating class of Skyline High who began attending as sophomores, she was a member of the Pep Club, Orchestra, and the National Honor Society. Linda’s energy and passion for knowledge naturally led to a life of leadership. While at the U of U she was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She graduated with a B.A. in English and a Secondary Teaching Certificate. She taught Junior and Senior High students in Southern California as well as in Salt Lake City. In 1991 she began teaching at Judge Memorial Catholic High School. She treasured every student, colleague, family, and activity there, recognizing and fostering talents and skills, and becoming a vital part of the life of the school. Always known as “Mrs. Simpson” (never Linda) to her students, she was famous for her delicious chocolate chip cookies. She baked them for her classes to enjoy and to encourage students in athletics, musicals, dance, and drama performances. She also handed out the recipe as a graduation gift. Numerous students have commented about how she changed their lives by inspiring them and giving them the confidence to use their talents and skills to pursue their dreams.
She was recognized as Teacher of the Year four times at Judge, as well as Educator of the Year of the Diocese of Salt Lake City. She was honored with the Woman of Distinction Award by the Assistance League of Salt Lake City, the Richard Schubach “Champion of Youth” Award, Judge Memorial Service to Youth Through Athletics, and Educator of Excellence by the Utah Writers at Work. Linda was the Moderator of Catharsis, the award-winning Literary Magazine, and violinist with students in musicals, orchestra concerts, school liturgies, parades, and also accompanied her friends in the English department at assemblies and coffee houses. She served on the Executive Board of the Utah Council of Teachers of English, the Executive Board of Utah Writers @ Work, and the Advisory Board of the Intermountain Catholic (newspaper for the Diocese of Utah). She was highly sought after as a workshop presenter for numerous professional organizations.
Linda brought joy, inspiration, enthusiasm, and awe-inspiring energy to every endeavor. She was a faithful member of First Presbyterian Church, serving as an ordained Deacon and Elder, participating in Sunday school, adult education, worship, and as a member of the choir. She participated in Bible Study Fellowship International, served as president of the Women’s Association, moderator of Presbyterian Women for the Presbytery of Utah, and the vice-moderator of Presbyterian Women for the Synod of the Rocky Mountains. She inspired others with her dedication to Christ, as God worked through her to bring others to Him.
Linda was a gifted musician who played the violin in the Granite Youth Symphony, served as Concert Master for the Wasatch Symphony, and performed with the Yarrow String Quartet. She participated in the Ulster Project of Utah, the PTA, and she and Ken belonged to the Third Saturday Night Dance Club.
Linda battled cancer with the same tenacity and trust in the Lord that exemplified her life. The family would like to thank everyone at the Huntsman Cancer Institute for their professional and tender care.
A celebration of her life will be held at Starks Funeral Parlor on Friday, March 29, 2019 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Guests are encouraged to use the complimentary valet parking on the north side of the building. A Memorial Service will be held the following day on Saturday, March 30, at the First Presbyterian Church of SLC (12 “C” Street) at noon. Interment at Wasatch Lawn following the service.
If you would like to make a contribution in her memory, donations would be welcome at Judge Memorial Catholic High School, or First Presbyterian Church.